By on October 22, 2018

We’re an odd bunch around here, as I’m sure you’ll agree. Some of the B&B are pretty far into the field as well. It what makes this place tick, as it has for years.

The tastes of your authors run the gamut, from weird old hatchbacks to strange sedans. Any mention of Oldsmobile causes heart palpitations in more than a few names listed on our masthead.

What machine causes you to, despite perplexed looks from your companions, to break out the camera on your smartphone? For me, it was a GM A-Body just two days ago.

You never see these things anymore, at least here where the Rust Monster never sleeps. Sure, GM built the Buick Century until 1996 but — despite my chronologically-inhibited mind — that was still 22 years ago. Yikes! And it should be noted the Pontiac 6000 disappeared five years prior to that.

I can’t be the only one who holds an affinity for odd cars. Can I? Hello? Where’d everybody go?

The semi-regular appearance of a very clean, final model year K-Car in our town also reliably causes my head to swivel as if a Ferrari F40 being driven by Steven Tyler has just passed by. I cannot explain this, other than to note the importance of the K as it relates to the dustbin of automotive history. After seeing the thing, I also spend an inordinate amount of time wondering if it has those map lights that swing and swivel out of the sun visors.

Yes, I absolutely snapped a photograph of that Goolie (6000LE) as it clanked its way out of the supermarket parking lot. Questions were asked by my companions as to why I was wasting digital real estate on what — to most — is a car that was fit for the derby ten years ago. They’re just lucky it wasn’t an STE AWD. I’d have chased that sucker all day.

What car do you stop and take a picture of (or crane your neck to see) that mystifies your friends and family?

Get the latest TTAC e-Newsletter!

82 Comments on “QOTD: A Weirdo, Just Like Me?...”


  • avatar
    NoID

    Coming back from lunch with a colleague the other day, I spied an absolutely mint K-car and chased it back to it’s owner’s dwelling. I was not disappointed, as his garage door came up THERE WAS ANOTHER MINT K-CAR WAGON BEHIND THE MECHANICAL VEIL!

    No other cars were present. This guy daily drove his K-cars.

    I needed a moment to catch my breath.

    Aside from that, I’m generally a big fan of Malaise, in all of its depressing flavors.

    • 0 avatar
      kwatter04

      There’s a pink (!) Reliant K (complete with pink fuzzy steering wheel cover) in my neighbourhood, I always see it parked at Rochelle’s House of Beauty (I’m guessing it’s Rochelle’s car). Runs quietly and has minimal rust…

  • avatar
    gtem

    A 1st-gen FWD Grand Am in pretty good shape (aside from a noisy muffler, which initially alerted me to its presence) rolled through the neighborhood last week, definitely caught and held my attention.

    The formula is simple: anything in good condition from the mid 90s or older will catch my eye. DN101 Taurus, old Explorer, non-rusty Accord, A-body GM, old Corolla, you name it.

    Of special note: 1st gen Mazda MPV (in any condition). My family has owned two, and the ’89 we bought way back in 1995 is still in my brother’s possession, worse for the wear (rust) but still kicking with 245k miles. A few years back when our ’98 Allsport was my daily driver, a guy going the opposite way on a divided highway started going nuts when he saw me in my white-over-sand Allsport, same color combo as his Allsport, it made my day.

    • 0 avatar
      Russycle

      “The formula is simple: anything in good condition from the mid 90s or older will catch my eye. DN101 Taurus, old Explorer, non-rusty Accord, A-body GM, old Corolla, you name it.”

      I have the same affliction, especially for hatchbacks. Maybe we can start a support group?

    • 0 avatar
      threeer

      GTEM, I’m about a decade behind you. Anything from the 80s that has been well-maintained (and not exotic) catches my eye. European, Japanese, Domestic…doesn’t usually matter. If the owner has kept it as clean as a collector’s car, I’m usually intrigued.

  • avatar
    swaghole

    Those early 90s Corolla Wagon 4×4 always draw my attention. Just the right combination of durability, roominess, economy, go-anywhere and quirkiness.

  • avatar
    OneAlpha

    I’ve always liked the 99-05 Grand Am GT coupes, particularly in white.

    Not the sedans, and not any other generation of the Grand Am.

    Just those.

  • avatar
    ttacgreg

    Seems the 4th of July time brings out odd cars. I was in Denver about three years ago and saw a Vega station drive by my parent’s house. It was not in showroom condition but it was in very good shape. Ah, that sputtering staccato exhaust note!

  • avatar
    phlipski

    W126 – Second Gen S-class. I especially love those headlight wipers! Third world dictator special.

  • avatar
    jeoff

    My kid’s golf teacher drives a Mazda6 wagon. Sort of feel weird completing him on his car, since folks around here drive much fancier transport—but I do like that car!

  • avatar
    thelaine

    I think the Ford Flex is beautiful. I really like VW vans. I like the AMC Eagle, and the Suzuki Samurai and the Subaru BRAT.

  • avatar
    happycamper

    Our local Best Buy is home to a Yugo fanatic. There almost always is a Yugo parked in the far corner with every option available including front nose bra.
    He must own several because every once in a while a different one is parked there.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    Auroras and Riveras in mint physical condition.

    Occasionally I see an Aurora or two in very nice showroom shape but during the last 5 years or so I haven’t run into a Rivera that wasn’t quickly sliding into hooptie status. The only mint Riveras I see any more are from the 1960s.

    • 0 avatar
      Iso Grifo

      Ditto… A few years ago I need a backup car with more seats than my two-seater so I hunted down a ’99 Aurora in mint condition and used it as my daily driver. Unfortunately the fancy-schmancy parts all started failing (like the climate controls would only blow hot air on full blast) and it was too expensive to maintain. I was sad to let it go. None of my friends understood why I liked that car so much.

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      The G-Body Riviera, in particular, seemed to be worse-built than its Aurora cousin, and also suffered from very thin paint. The design was truly something special; the build quality was classic 90s GM.

    • 0 avatar
      Featherston

      They’ve both been sold, but Mike Stanton’s videos on ’90s Rivs will entertain.

      http://www.youtube.com/user/majorstanton/search?query=riviera

  • avatar
    mikey

    I’ve spotted several mid 80’s “B” Chevs around here ..There used to be a 1979 ?? 2 door Caprice somewhere in the area, with a lot pf patina, but no rust..A rare combination in these parts . I hope someone has scooped it up and has it stored.

    • 0 avatar
      PrincipalDan

      “Box” B-bodies will always make me look along with their C/D body cousins.

    • 0 avatar
      Featherston

      I’ll defer to others’ expertise on the ’77 and beyond B-bodies, but I’ve read message board comments to the effect that the ’78s and ’79s were best of breed. Teething problems, of which there were few, would have been worked out in the ’77s, and they predate the ’80(?) mild redesign that worsened things ever so slightly. My grandmother owned a ’78 Caprice Classic, and it was a terrific car in terms of durability and reliability.

  • avatar
    ahintofpepperjack

    I’m a big fan of the late 90’s Chevy trucks. They may be the best trucks GM ever made.

    Also the B5 Audi S4. It’s very rare to see one in good condition anymore.

    • 0 avatar
      gtem

      Yep a clean GMT400 always catches my eye. There’s a local one I see in traffic that is a respray with a few non-offensive deviations from stock (exhaust, driving lights, larger tires) that just looks fantastic. Massively more appealing than anything anyone sells new, especially GM’s new Silverado.

      Also, I’d like to think my beater B5 has fooled at least a few Audi enthusiasts from a distance ‘No way, an RS4?!’ only to be rather disappointed when they get up close and see that it is a poorly-fitting aftermarket knock-off bumper.

      • 0 avatar
        CobraJet

        I still drive my 1994 Silverado Extended Cab. I bought it new with 5 miles on it at Chuck Hutton Chevrolet in Memphis. It is the deluxe two tone black with beige sides, tan interior with bucket seats and console. It is garage kept with the original paint.

        It is just a used truck to most people but I am beginning to get some looks and conversations at gas stations and parking lots about how good it looks. Maybe a future collectible in 10 more years?

        • 0 avatar
          gtem

          I’d say clean GMT400s are just about reaching “collectible” range, judging by what cleaned up Z71s are going for online at specialty retailers. I’m amazed by how many I see on the road, here in Central Indiana they are still very much a daily driver for many Hoosiers, although most of the ones you see tend to be quite well worn with rotten cab corners and such.

          • 0 avatar
            CobraJet

            No rust on mine anywhere living down south. Mine is 2wd with the factory chrome wheels. All original with no mods.

  • avatar
    spookiness

    I was commenting recently to a friend, also fond of Malaise, how the A-bodies have aged well (looks wise).

    • 0 avatar
      Johnster

      They had good bones. They were kind of bland, but also timeless. When you see one on the street it just sort of fades into the background and looks like it always belonged there, not unlike the many old Camrys or Accords that are still on the roads.

  • avatar
    Flipper35

    Dodge Conquest TSi. All the boy racer kit reminds me of a time when you could get tasteful aftermarket wide body kits, especially for the Gen II RX7.

  • avatar
    NG5

    There’s a Nissan Murano Cross-Cabriolet in town I almost crash every time I see drive by. What a bizarre vehicle.

  • avatar
    cimarron typeR

    any regal or cutlass from early 80s, t type especially is what I normally see,as those were collectible from the outset

  • avatar
    ColoradoFX4

    1st/2nd gen Taurus and Sable, the rarer the better (hello MT-5 wagon). Ditto for other rare versions of mainstream 80s/90s FoMoCo offerings: Topaz XR5, Tempo AWD, Escort LX-E, EXP Turbo, Contour SVT…

  • avatar
    PentastarPride

    My wife does not understand why I make a big deal about seeing something like a 1983 Dodge 400, a 1977 Plymouth Volare or a 1994 Eagle Vision and totally brush off something like an exotic supercar (then it’s my wife doing the ogling and I’m the one rolling my eyes, but then I tell her that I think she’d look cute driving a Ferrari or whatever). She doesn’t think it’s normal for a guy to ignore the fast or expensive cars over something “old, boring, ugly or crappy” (paraphrasing her words). We agree on pretty much everything but cars.

    Older, non-Mopar cars that were once common pique my interest as well. You don’t see a 1986 Ford Taurus wagon or a 1981 Buick Regal on your commute every day.

    Oddball cars like Sterling, Merkur or Renault tend to get my attention too. They were available for sale in the US but are close to nonexistent. You don’t really see those cars around. I have never, ever seen a Yugo–dead or alive–in my entire existence.

    The last time I saw a Sterling was when I was in high school, which was about a decade ago. The kid that drove it was often the last to leave out of the student parking lot due to some ongoing issues in getting it started and running (think it had something to do with Lucas electrics?). It was something a jump start would not fix. Everybody who happened to have jumper cables with them offered help, which he politely declined as the battery and alternator had been ruled out by him long ago. Halfway through senior year the Sterling disappeared and a late-80s/early-90s Alfa Romeo took its place. At least it was different from the sea of Honda, Acura, Volkswagen, Infiniti and Toyota.

    I can’t say that there is a newer car that catches my attention.

  • avatar
    Sigivald

    The 2CV.

  • avatar
    tonyola

    1995-1999 Buick Riviera. It’s still dramatic looking even after all these years.

  • avatar
    MeJ

    I always give a second look to old VW Beetles. I have only driven one once and would never own one, but I think they are just super-cool looking cars.
    Another car I’ve always loved that nobody I know likes is the Porsche 928. I was behind a GTS version of one recently and just loved the look of the thing. The weird round rear end and those strange Miura-like pop up headlights…Sign me up!

  • avatar
    dividebytube

    B-Body: especially the square Caprices, bonus if 2-door.

    A/G-Body: especially the Malibu, Cutlass 442, GNX, Grand National, and the MCSS. Special weakness for the “Euro” headlight Monte Carlo LS. I used to own a SS and know the cars strengths and weaknesses in and out.

    Fox Body mustangs – used to see these _everywhere_ – now only a few exist, usually hotrodded out V8s or still chugging along in 4-cyl form.

  • avatar
    ajla

    2000 – 2005 Monte Carlo.
    Fight me.

    • 0 avatar
      PrincipalDan

      At least the 2006–2007 version had the pushrod 3.9 and the transmission eating 5.3 V8.

      I could find some interest in the SC 3800 version of the 2004-2005 SS.

      But hey Man, to each their own.

      • 0 avatar
        gtem

        A clean black ’00-’05 Impala SS always catches my eye. Not many good ones left, and the decent ones fetch a surprising amount of cash, “I know what I got.”

      • 0 avatar
        normantor

        Had the transmission eating 2006. Sounds like a helicopter when it starts to go. Scary bizarre acceleration. 300c you know where you are going. Impala was always at some kind of angle. Don’t ask me about how many front wheel bearing assemblies it ate.

  • avatar
    Arthur Dailey

    Anything that I owned/drove and have fond memories of.

    Survivors or ‘unloved’ or ‘non-collectible’ models. For example mainstream family sedans and wagons from the mid 80’s and older.

    Mid to late 1950’s chrome monsters. Can’t get enough of those.

    • 0 avatar

      I second your thoughts, Arthur. I also second the thoughts of others who mention any older vehicle that appears to be well cared for. Maybe it’s a time travel sort of thing, taking me back to when said vehicle was new. Any time I see a Shelby Charger I take notice as I had one myself. In fact, that car brought me here to TTAC. My nephew saw the article that Tom wrote back when and forwarded it to me. Been checking in and reading articles here ever since.

  • avatar
    CincyDavid

    79-85 GM E-body…Toronado, Riviera and Eldorado in descending order. Any well-kept 60s-80 American luxo-barge.

    I am always looking for a late-70s Cadillac Seville…the little boxy one. I’d rock that thing, if my wife would let me keep it.

    Can’t afford a Jeep Wagoneer, but I see a bright red one periodically that catches my eye…not a great color but a cool vehicle.

  • avatar
    MRF 95 T-Bird

    Today when I went out for lunch I saw a very nice Mercedes Benz W123. It looked like the last year of them an 1985. Maroon with tan MB Tex and chrome bundt wheels.
    Their solid presence and build quality hold up well.

  • avatar
    Mike Beranek

    I have a thing for those A-bodies as well. By the time they stopped making them in 1996, The Century and Ciera were the most trouble-free cars on the road, and had sky-high customer ratings. Of course, those customers were old, and so was the car at this point.
    But it reminds us that when (old) GM sticks with something for so many years, and keeps working on it, keeps improving, they can polish a turd into a gem.

  • avatar
    Lightspeed

    Toyota Cressidas, I about lose my mind when I see one.

  • avatar
    MoparRocker74

    –Dodge Daytona/Chrysler Laser. Especially the ’84-’86 4 eyed versions. I just love those cars!

    –Less ‘wierd’ but still obscure…I’m all about first gen poptop Dodge Ramchargers and Plymouth Traildusters. Right up there with Jeep CJs as my all time favorite 4x4s and something Id love to see come back true to the original design.

  • avatar
    Kyree S. Williams

    A few people have mentioned the eighth-generation (1995-1999) Buick Riviera. That’s one for me. I have never seen a Silver Arrow model in the wild, but someday hope to, just for the sheer rarity of it (250 made).

    There are still plenty on the ground, but I like the first-generation (2003-2009) Lexus GX. It looks timeless compared to other 4×4 SUVs from that era.

    Any aspirational K-Car (New Yorker, Imperial, nicer LeBaron, TC by Maserati) will earn morbidly-fascinated gazes from me.

    Of course, anything that shouldn’t be or usually isn’t on American roads, I’ll notice. This past month, I’ve seen a Morgan Aero Supersports, a recent Land Rover Defender (the sort that isn’t legal to import), and a Volkswagen SP2. Oh, and a recent Peugeot model with manufacturer plates.

    Finally, ridiculously-expensive and fragile, but rare, European cars always catch my attention. Chief among them is the Volkswagen Phaeton, and extra bonus points if it’s a W12 model. I also keep seeing a Volkswagen Touareg V10 TDI around town, and I wonder how much it costs to keep it running. And, yes, I’m absolutely stupid enough to buy something ruinous, like a ten-year-old Mercedes-Benz S 600 or BMW B7 Alpina. I just know better than to finance it.

    • 0 avatar
      Lightspeed

      Those GX are a better value than a comparable 4Runner, less miles, V8, Lexus interior, likely dealer serviced for not much more dough. Yeah, those 8th gen Rivs were pretty cool, I worked in a Buick store when they came out, nice driver, it id feel like there was 30-feet of car behind you though!

  • avatar

    -Ford Aspire- Something about those adorable little round eggs, that are becoming increasingly rare, just melts my heart

    -Hyundai Excel- Not only for its historical value as the first Korean mass market vehicle to our shores. But the fact, that against all odds and iffy quality, it has survived three decades on this planet gives it reason for a photo.

    -GM APV Vans- These were my childhood dream cars. It was as though aliens came to earth and showed us to make a minivan. So futuristic. I was obsessed with them as a kid. Now, 22+ years later, they are rare sights.

    -Nissan Axxess- A mini-minivan sold for only one year in the U.S. in limited numbers with available AWD and (six years before Chrysler) dual sliding doors. These were even rare in 1990

    • 0 avatar
      SaulTigh

      I’ve got a thing for the first gen Ford/Kia Festiva. I think it’s because I always thought it was kinda cool looking with that low body and square greenhouse, and also because I know several people that got incredible use out of these things in the late 90’s/early 2000’s. I respect any vehicle that takes abuse and keeps right on moving.

  • avatar
    quaquaqua

    Every Isuzu Vehicross (heck, even the Axiom) I love to see. Unusual Japanese/Korean cars from the 80s/90s will always get a glance. It’s funny because the Axiom practically looks like it could be sold today. I can’t think of another SUV design that holds up that well, not counting the Wrangler, of course.

    Basically I have nostalgia for the cars that were kinda unusual/interesting when I was a kid. Isn’t that all what this is? Misplaced nostalgia? It’s why so many people here admit to loving the Malaise-era vehicles. They were awful, but you grew up with them and it reminds you of simpler times. Not rocket science.

  • avatar
    96redse5sp

    I love first generation Ford Contours on 16 or 17″ alloys…

  • avatar
    gearHead 74

    The list of what catches my eyes is far to long to spend the time trying to type out or even recall, I will say it’s typically things I don’t see anymore or have never seen in person and is something I would if I could, modify in a tasteful fashion. I remember the poncho 6000, my father owned one, which puzzling enough to me is not his normal forte’. He was mostly a GM guy to the point of nausea and rear drive only (V8s are the only thing that exsist…add nauseum).

  • avatar
    Roberto Esponja

    My first brand-new car was a 1993 Dodge Intrepid (base model, 3.3 liter, in candy apple red metallic), which served me well for five years. I still get excited when I see one around in good condition. Deserved or undeserved bad rep aside, it was the only car that I’ve had (and I’ve owned over 20) in which I fit as if it had been designed around me. My family and friends were always impressed by its room and comfort, and it was a great car for long trips. I still say that Chrysler/FCA designers should have studied the first generation LH cars when they developed the last generation 200, but it seems to me like they totally ignored them, to their peril.

  • avatar
    Syke

    Any Citroen. Hell, anything French, other than Peugeot, which I find boring.

  • avatar
    jfb43

    First generation LHS/Concorde. I never see them on the road anymore, but I think they’re cool.

    1991-1995 Mazda 929. They are true unicorns.

    Ford Probe.

    Acrua Legend.

    Basically all that cool 90s stuff that no one cared about back then…and that most people still don’t care about.

    Oh, and the box Panther cars.

    • 0 avatar
      gearhead77

      I wound up owning two 1st gen Legends in my life. The first one was a pristine 89 L that stupid me totaled one night about a month after I bought it in 1998.

      The second one was an 88 from a BHPH lot that ALWAYS had a bunch of late 80’s, early 90’s Hondas/Acuras well into the early 2000’s. I bought the 88 in 2000-2001. It was a stick and while it wasn’t as nice or as well loved as my 89, the 5 speed made it much more fun to drive. Had it for about 3 years, my Dad drove it another 2 and then the electrics began fading on it.

      Always wanted a 2nd gen car, but they were never right for me in price and now they’re all gone.

  • avatar
    copcarguy

    75-91 Ford Econoline cargo vans or Club Wagons, but not a conversion van lol.

    2nd or 3rd gen Escorts / Tracers.

    Mopar Police Pkg. M-bodies… A38/AHB Diplomats & Gran Furies were tough as nails.

  • avatar
    SaulTigh

    I think many of you have touched on it, but seeing a clean and well kept vehicle that used to exist in great numbers but doesn’t anymore always turns my head. You see an old classic or exotic and you immediately understand why someone bothered to keep it around. You see a showroom perfect Lincoln Versailles (there’s one a town over from me) or a 1979 Chevy Malibu (as far as I know they’re all dead) and you know you’ve got a kindred spirit. My curiosity is always piqued regarding how that vehicle survived.

    As someone fixing to daily drive an extremely clean ’95 Sable with only 67,000 miles on it, I’d imagine the story with most of these vehicles is the same…it was the car of an elderly relative.

  • avatar
    ttacgreg

    I just remembered, I have an acquaintance in Denver who has a dang near showroom perfect ’67 Caddy Eldorado, which to this day, to my eye is the loveliest Caddy ever.

  • avatar
    gtem

    Got to see a ’90-ish Lesabre with perfect maroon paint leaving the Chevy dealer on they way home from work. Definitely double-take material. Mmm boxy H-body goodness.

  • avatar
    normantor

    Well easy

    Ford Countour SVT..it’s like a unicorn.

  • avatar
    road_pizza

    Non-Mustang Fox Bodies, especially Fairmonts and Zephyrs and ’83-’86 LTDs and Marquis :).

  • avatar
    gearhead77

    Saultigh is exactly right. I expect someone to care for an (insert exotic) here. Or even a high-end but otherwise normal car ( Corvette, Mustang, CTS-V,etc.) But a pristine K-car, Ford Escort, 1st gen Taurus, Chevy Celebrity or anything odd that has survived longer than a decade and outlived 95% of it line mates is always a head turner. Especially since for me in the rust belt, most imports from the 90’s or earlier rusted out long ago. My head is on a swivel the further south I go!

    My perpetual hunt for a four-place drop top found me a 1997 Toyota Paseo Convertible with 57k and all original, very clean. The dealer is asking 5k for it and while that’s a bit much, I don’t remember the last time I saw one ever. Production numbers were low and it was a one year only thing in 97. The want is strong for this little “Super Red” car with the funky graphic seats and floormats. 95hp and a 4 spd auto means you’ll win no races, but there’s non-convertible ones on AT with 150k-200k on them too. A unicorn from “peak Toyota”? Gimme.
    (https://www.tedsautos.com/)

    If it survives, I love it. Some people want to take in all the stray animals they see. I want to take in all the unloved cars I’ve always wanted on the 3rd rate BHPH lots and craigslist ads.

    • 0 avatar
      DweezilSFV

      Same here. There was an 82 Citation 5 door in Marana on CR I even posted on my FB feed. 80,000 some odd miles [looked more like 180,000].

      The 86 Calais in my driveway will have to give me the Isle Of Lost Cars Iron Duke fix, alas.

  • avatar
    DweezilSFV

    GM N,A or X Body, Chrysler first Gen Mini Van. K Cars.

    Saw an 86 Celebrity wagon I wanted to follow just yesterday.

Read all comments

Back to TopLeave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Recent Comments

  • FreedMike: I think EVs will follow the pattern of a whole range of “new-tech” consumer goods that sold to...
  • 1337cr3w: There is a general trend across the internet to eliminate public discourse. They say that it’s to...
  • golden2husky: I always felt that way about early hybrids…I hated that they looked like oddballs.
  • FreedMike: Yes, the public does have a say. If you don’t like the government getting behind EVs, vote for...
  • golden2husky: As pointed out above, Stellantis makes lots of coin on old technology. So, no surprise that they rather...

New Car Research

Get a Free Dealer Quote

Who We Are

  • Adam Tonge
  • Bozi Tatarevic
  • Corey Lewis
  • Jo Borras
  • Mark Baruth
  • Ronnie Schreiber